How can sales automation tools benefit your business?
The main benefit of using sales automation tools is the sheer amount of time you will save. Higher value jobs can be focused on because the basic tasks like updating records, gathering lead data and filling in paperwork can be done by those sales automation tools.
Automated lead analysis is one example of a sales automation tool that saves time in the lead prospecting stage to improve the quality of the prospects you are selling to. There are a wide variety of sales automation tools that specialise in streamlining a specific sales task.
Additionally, as more people are working from home, sales automation tools can help your team standardise your sales processes across a distributed team. With automated processes operating in the background, you know that the sales processes will run smoothly, even when employee interaction is limited.
The 6 different types of sales automation tools
Below are the 6 most common categories of sales automation tools to help you streamline your business:
- CRM systems. Also known as customer relationship management, CRM systems help you track and record your sales pipeline and the progress that you are making towards achieving your sales goals. Many modern CRM systems include analytics, automated reminders and automated email followups to target prospects. There are over 400 tools in the sales tech landscape, so there are plenty of options to pick from.
- Lead enrichment. These tools can help you build out a full picture of your target prospect. With the use of AI systems, they can help you identify a prospect’s wider digital identity (Twitter, Linkedin, blog, news coverage etc). This can provide a deeper level of insight about the prospect which can enable you to have more meaningful sales conversations that result in a higher volume of closed deals.
- Prospecting tools. A big part of the sales process is identifying qualified leads and prospects quickly. By finding the people who are most likely to make a purchase from the beginning, you can avoid wasting time with unqualified prospects (and tyre-kickers!) to ensure your efforts are focused on prospects that are most likely to result in a sale.
- Sales analytics tools. Sales analytics and reporting tools can improve the accuracy of sales forecasts and can measure if you are meeting your targets. Being able to visualise this sales data can helps you fine-tune your sales strategy to accelerate sales performance.
- Process and training tools. Implementing standardised processes is vital in order to measure sales performance. Ensuring consistency in how those processes are followed is often a challenge which is where sales process and training tools can help.
- Automation and integration tools. Creating an efficient sales workflow is important for any company and you can do this easily with automation tools. By simplifying and speeding up tasks that are lower priority, like qualifying leads or answering support questions, your business will be much more effective.
Tips to increase inbound and outbound sales performance
5 tactics to accelerate inbound sales performance
1) Incentivise social shares: Place portions of your blog posts behind content lockers that reveal the content to the reader only after they have shared the content to social media. This will spread your content to like-minded people who are more likely to be interested in reading your content. There are a wide variety of ‘content locker’ plugins available for WordPress sites so this is very easy to implement.
2) Interview industry leaders to capture wider industry interest. By interviewing industry leaders within your target industry, you get to develop relationships with the exact people that you are trying to sell to and you also have the opportunity to ask questions about use cases and potential barriers to sell your solution to the industry that you are trying to sell to. If they are high-profile individuals, you will also benefit from having high engagement from a highly relevant audience when you publish the post on the site. It is also highly likely that those industry leaders will share your content out to their wider audiences.
3) Give your content some momentum. Publish your content in a series or turn very long-form content into a series of posts. This approach keeps readers coming back for the next instalment. Strategies like daily challenges are very effective and packaging up a group of blog posts as a downloadable ebook is another technique that works really well.
4) Understand visitor behaviour with website heat mapping tools. Tools like Hotjar and Microsoft Clarity enable you to track how far down the page your website visitors scroll and where they click on the page. You can also review video recordings of their browsing session. Heat mapping tools can help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your content and overall sales funnel so you can continuously improve it and drive more sales.
5) Optimise your email signature to promote your blog. Adding a link to your blog in your business email signature ensures that everybody that receives an email from you is made aware of your fantastic content!. This is a great way of building up subscribers and reinforcing your expertise to prospects and the people you are regularly in contact with.
Our top tips for using outbound sales automation
1) Segment your market. Separate out your target prospects into clearly defined groups based on common characteristics like sector or company size. This will enable you to target groups of target prospects that have common pain points and engage with them in a more meaningful way that resonates with their pain point.
The three main types of market segmentation are:
- Filmographic segmentation – the shape and characteristics of the business.
- Need based segmentation – the value and size of the need that the company has.
- Value based segmentation – the size of the company by revenue.
Overall, value-based segmentation is considered more effective because it is a practical way to help you focus on the highest potential value customers.
2) Optimise your data collection. Having your sales data scattered across a multitude of excel sheets is a surefire way of losing sales momentum. Develop a methodical and structured approach to capturing and processing prospect data so it’s easily accessible and all organised into one centralised location. A CRM system is a great solution to this problem and enables you to focus on the deals you have in hand whilst maintaining focus and momentum to close them.
3) Segment existing prospects. Work through your existing prospects and place them into their respective segments. This will enable you to start engaging with those prospects in a more meaningful way that aligns with their needs, pain points and budget. Doing this will accelerate sales performance and shorten the sales cycle.
4) Prioritise segments to increase focus. Rate how attractive each of the segments are and prioritise those segments in your sales efforts. This is a way of improving efficiency and time allocation on deals. Using a set of predetermined criteria decides how beneficial each segment is to your business. Some example criteria you might consider evaluating:
- The size of the segment
- The average budget
- Potential for growth
- How easy it is to get your content to them
5) Prospect the market based on your segments. Once you have segmented your market and existing prospects, you can start looking for new prospects based on the segments that you have defined. This helps you maintain the sales pipeline but does so in a more structured and focused way. Finding quality leads who are likely to convert is a hard task, but prospecting based on sharply defined segments makes it much easier. When you do this, the focus sharpens and sales efforts naturally change from high volume to high quality.